People say we've got the power, the phrase, I think is hearts and minds.
Never mind where we came from, we've left our history books behind.
Not so much teachers as fighters, and what we teach is how we fight,
and we're going to ring the changes, we're going to ring it right.
We were sitting in a bar in Dublin enjoying the songs provided by a talented singer/guitarist. The previous night we'd been entertained by a band in Murray's down O'Connell Street and the evening before that by a duo in a bar in Temple Bar. Music everywhere. As the bars fill up with tourists the music becomes more obvious - lots of Whiskey in the Jar and Wild Rover of course. The singer on Wednesday evening asked for requests which Mrs Dave and I were happy to write a list of songs we'd like to hear. From that list of about ten songs he admitted to us that there were only two he didn't know. He didn't know From Galway to Graceland and he was a little abashed that he didn't know Irish Ways and Irish Laws but planned to learn it. That shows dedication.
If we asked most English entertainers to sing the same list I wonder how many would know any of them? He'd started his set with Spancil Hill, a song I was introduced to back in the seventies and somewhere have a recording of it with me playing electric lead guitar on. A song of absence - a Wild Swan song. Oh to be back in Auld Oirland instead of waking up every day here in Sunny California. The guy seemed to want to chat to us after the gig and we had an interesting talk which surprised me. I'd assumed that he was possibly a brickie who played occasional gigs to earn a little more from his hobby. Oh no, this was his job. He'd been a carpenter but preferred doing this - although the house building market had collapsed we learned later. The band the night before toured around the world and had toured Scandinavia last year. These people play regularly in pubs and hotels and the audience don't pay - it's just assumed that punters want to be entertained whilst eating and drinking. These people earn their livings from doing what they love and are good at with no pretensions of fame. No instant success from Mr Cowell and his cronies, thank you.
But the question of culture came up several times during the week. We visited Kilmainham Gaol and
There's a pride, I guess, in one's own heritage that Dublin seems saturated with. The "Oirish" shops selling anything you can imagine in green or black and white were virtually every other shop. Nearly every bar has music and, of course, Irish dancing thanks to the run away success of Riverdance. It seems that Mr Flatly is so successful now that the punters can't get enough of it. Wherever you go in Dublin there is Guinness, music, dancing and "traditional Irish food" which seems to be Fish'n'chips, Irish Stew or a Burger. But it's great to see and hear so much live music - we enjoyed it all, even the bloody Wild Rover (clap, clap, clap-clap)! They're tearing up the roads to lay more tram tracks and transport is much cheaper than over here. They have a great bus service, trams and good trains. There's plenty to be proud of. The bar staff were always pleasant and everyone had time to stop and chat, there was never a feeling of being stressed out and rushing about for little purpose or reward.
With the pound strong against the Euro at the moment Europe is probably inundate with travelling Brits. It's been a good few years since I was last in Ireland but it certainly wasn't as expensive as last time I was there. It's a good time to go. Travel broadens the mind, of course. It's definitely given me some food for thought. I wonder if we've just forgotten so much, never learnt it or if we're really ashamed of our own culture?
Oh and by the way, in case you were wondering, yes of course it rained.